On Tuesday, Taiwanese government websites experienced cyberattacks hours ahead of U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan. A cybersecurity research organization said the attacks might have been carried out by Chinese activist hackers rather than the Chinese regime.

Reuters cited a statement from the office reporting that Taiwan’s presidential office website was subjected to a distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack on Tuesday. According to the New York Times, the website experienced a 200-fold increase in traffic. However, access to the website was restored in around 20 minutes.

Also, on Tuesday, a government portal and Taiwan’s foreign ministry website were hit with up to 8.5 million traffic requests a minute from a “large number of IPs from China, Russia, and other places.”

What is a distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attack?

According to Cloudflare, a distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attack is an attempt to disrupt the regular traffic of a targeted server, service, or network by overwhelming the target or its surrounding infrastructure with high volumes of internet traffic.

Johannes Ullrich, Dean of Research at SANS Technology Institute, said, “These are uncoordinated, random, moral-less attacks against websites that Chinese hacktivists use to get their message across.”

A spokesman for the Presidential Office stated it would continue to enhance its monitoring of essential infrastructure in light of “continued compound information operations by foreign forces.”

According to Taiwan News, on August 3, the international hacktivist group Anonymous targeted a Chinese regime website. The group hacked into China’s Heilongjiang Society’s Scientific Community Federation website. The move was to welcome Pelosi’s arrival in Taipei.

They also posted images of Pelosi and Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen with words such as “Taiwan Numbah Wan,” “Taiwan welcomes U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi,” and more on an HTML page.

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